Christmas is a magical time of year. With the trees adorned with lights, ornaments, and tinsel, who can resist touching every little detail? Certainly not us, nor our pets. Just as you like to gaze at the tree, so do your pets. And when they get curious, they’ll sniff around the tree and potentially knock things to the ground—sometimes even the tree itself. So, before you have a holiday disaster and a pet emergency, take some time to prepare for a dog-friendly Christmas.
There are many things your dog should not eat, including your tree and tree water. While going on a trip to pick out your tree from a tree farm is traditional and fun, keep in mind the cautions it creates for your pets. Real trees shed needles frequently, which dogs tend to chew on. Pine needles are mildly toxic to animals and they can puncture your pet’s skin if stepped on. Besides the needles, the water used to keep the tree fresh can create harmful bacteria. Keeping your pet from drinking this water will take extra attention, so you may be better off purchasing a fake tree this year. This should be your first addition to your dog-friendly Christmas list.
When something new enters an animal’s domain, they want to sniff it, touch it, and make sure it’s safe. So, before you decorate your tree, give your pet time to adjust to its presence. Set up your tree and leave it bare for a few days to a week to let the newness wear off. Then, hopefully, when you decorate, they won’t be as curious.
Take Down the Tinsel
Tinsel is shiny and eye-catching… but not just to humans. The festive decoration also catches the eyes of pets and can be harmful to them if ingested. Tinsel causes blocked intestines which leads to a variety of other problems. If your pet eats tinsel, visit a vet clinic near you to help your pet receive the care they need. And, to prevent the issue from happening, leave the tinsel off the tree this year.
Glass ornaments have a classic feel to them, but they are quite dangerous. If knocked from the tree, glass ornaments are likely to shatter. If one of these pieces is stepped on by your furry friend, it could end with a hurt paw—which is still a better option than having them eat a piece of the glass. Instead, opt for plastic ornaments. These won’t shatter if they fall, thus creating a safer environment for your pets. Be sure to use ornaments that won’t become a choking hazard too. If your pet is constantly knocking off the lower-tier decorations from the tree, try only decorating the higher half.
Watch the Lights
Strings and ropes are often used as toys for our pets—so what makes a cord any different? Every year it seems that we hear stories of pets being electrocuted from chewing on the Christmas light cord. So, to prevent that from happening, take a few precautions. Make sure your extension cord is short enough to not have a coil but long enough to not be taut and easy to pull from the socket. Tape the cord down so your pets can’t chew or play with it. You can also use an automatic shut-off extension cord that power down once they are damaged. This will keep your dogs from being electrocuted if they do manage to chew the cord.
Though it might take some training to keep your pet from jumping around the tree or knocking things down, these preventative measures will keep your pet safe and happy during the holidays.